Mutharika urges patience on Malawi electricity crisis: ‘I know people are hurting with blackouts’

As Malawians are growing increasingly concerned with the electricity woes the country is currently facing, President Professor Peter Mutharika has  appealed for patience, saying the problem will hopefully be minimized by next year as there are solutions  in place to help the country both in the short term, medium term and long term.

Mutharika was speaking when he “stormed” in a meeting of senior Escom and Egenco officials 

Mutharika gave the assurance on Wednesday during a surprise visit to Energy Generation Company (EGENCO) and Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) to express his personal frustration with the current electricity situation in the country.

President Mutharika said that his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) led government has put the electricity woes as a priority.

“I am obviously concerned about the power problems we are having in this country because without power we cannot transform this country. Investors cannot come because there is no power, so power is very crucial and we have put it as a priority. I know that the blackouts are very painful, they are hurting people and businesses and so on and so forth, and I know what the country is going through,” Mutharika said.

Mutharika further stressed that the problem lies on the fact that as a country, we have never invested in the energy sector all these years hence this is the first time the country will be investing in the sector.

State House  spokesman Mgeme Kalilani said in a statement seen by Nyasa Times that Mutharika’s  visit to the two organizations was to express his “personal frustration” with the situation where people have to stay without power for longer hours.

Kalilani  said the President Mutharika shares the frustrations that come with the frequent power outages on both local and foreign investors.

The State House Press Officer, however, said the first citizen appreciates some efforts deployed by EGENCO and ESCOM to address the problem, citing the installation of generators to boost electricity mega watts as one case in point.

“For example, the President noted efforts being taken by ESCOM to deal with the massive blackouts by constructing the Kamwamba Power Generation Plant as one long term measure,” said Kalilani, adding that the Malawi leader  is not sleeping over the issue until it is solved.

ESCOM Board Chairperson, Perks Ligoya, attributed the power outages to low water levels  in Lake Malawi and the Shire River have negatively impacted on the country’s generation capacity

He said due to the low water levels, EGENCO is only producing 180 mega watts instead of the demanded 300 mega watts.

“Now, out of those 180 mega watts, 70 mega watts are distributed to sensitive institutions such as hospitals, water boards… so that people can have water. Now that leaves very little, only about 100 mega watts to be distributed to everyone in Malawi,” said Ligoya.

He said due to this situation, they have to distribute the available mega watts equitably and not favouring one area from another. The ESCOM board chair added that people’s frustrations were understandable.

Escom chief executive officer Evelyn Mwapasa also said that the current generation capacity is less as demand is 300 megawatts while its sister company Egenco, is producing a total of 160 megawatts.

Egenco chief executive officer William Liabunya said the Head of State advised them to look into alternative source of energy to hydro-electricity.

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mbuyafive
Guest

The presedent is the last person to tell us to be patient with elecriticity problem. This guy and the majority of the cabinet ministers have been around over the last ten years. Life is becoming worse in their hands. How can a country fail to provide electricity to less than 10% of the population? No electriciity, children still learning under trees, 2-4 children sharing a bed in hospitals, no food for the majority of the popukation.
The leaedrship has to be serious. STOP stealing the money and invest properly. Please guys stop shaming us.

Malawi
Guest

Lost trust in DPP. How long has it taken the President to realise the Electricity problem. People have died in hospital’s , businesses not to mention. Now after by Election shock you realise there is a problem. We cannot be taken for granted anymore. Come 2019 others will take over. Enough is enough. We are tired of business as usual.

dagobert
Guest

Crashes in a meeting and later urge for patience? What type of leadership is this! “Rush and wait” the real theme of our current administration. No “hard work” bla bla…., the technocrats at ESCOM blame the politics for their failure and now suddenly the government accuses ESCOM? ?? But patience??? I

mr khanya
Guest

Consult Dr. Joyce Banda on this one. She had this problem under control during her time.

Bibo
Guest

There were power outages when I was last in Malawi in 2011. That is SIX years of being patient! How much longer must Malawians be patient? Is that all the President has to offer, ‘Be patient”. Does he seriously expect to be re-elected in 2019?

Fake Petros
Guest
This president should stop fooling people that he is genuinely concerned with daily blackouts perennially facing Malawians. In fact he just hears about blackouts, he doesn’t even physically experience such. How many times have Malawians been COMPLAINING of abuse of state funds, corruption by ddp thieves both in government sectors and state owned enterprises yet the president (without remorse faking concern here) shields these ddp thugs or just looks away. Malawians should just ignore such insincere and insensitive dramatization by peter. This is just candid political posturing after suffering a political TOK in the recent by-elections. This is the guy… Read more »
nyaxy
Guest

Anthu ena samaganiza mumangotukwana president ngati iyeyo ndi Mulungu or atabwetapo abuses any onyenga Obama ku uzimu kutsiriza kuthupo mukuganiza kuti azawayha mavutowa .makoment ena anachita kuwoneka kuti walemba momento you ndi cigawenga chokuba chimene mumatukwanira ndichani osangofotokoza mfundozo bwanji mwaiwala 2014 mukateronso iyeyo DPP mafuta asowa force Iowa koma nthawi Italia tinangomva kuti DPP oyeeeeeeeeeeee

jay
Guest

So this meeting did not yield something tangible enough to revert power blackout. Now my advice to government is let us learn from what other countries such as Zambia, RSA, Kenya etc did to iron out this problem. All they did in short is to import power from other countries and we can do the same both as a short and interim measure.

Che Wanimiliyoni
Guest
Escom/egenco warned the nation in June this year than since the lake level was much lower than at same time last year we were likely to experience much more prolonged power outages this year. And just to remind one another at the pick of the blackouts last year in December we could go more than 48 hours without electricity. Some took heed of Escom advice and put in place standby power sources like petrol/diesel generators. But many have found out that they can’t afford to run on generators and have abandoned them to join the crying poor. It is thus… Read more »
Charlie Hebdo
Guest
Whether Malawians are a patient or passive lot I cannot tell. What I can tell though without fear of contradicting myself is that Malawi is so easy to rule. Our leaders easily get away with every rubbish they throw unto us. They cash on political, tribal and regional divisions existing in this country. Whether you are a DPP sympathizer or not, a Lhomwe or not, a Southerner or not, we are all being affected by these persistent blackouts. I am surprised at the lengths some people will go to defend the indefensible not based on facts but based on political,… Read more »
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